Saturday, December 20, 2008

Couple of Things

John Ramsey Miller

This past week I drove to Mississippi from North Carolina and returned a few days later. I did the same thing two weeks ago to hunt (if you are keeping up with this clap-trap). The round trip is roughly 1500 miles and I make it five or more times a year. I truly enjoy the eleven-hour drive through the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, but the trip would be mostly tedium were it not for the books I listen to. I sometimes get books from our library, but if I don’t make it to the library, I stop at Cracker Barrel. This past trip I listened to Dean Koontz’s THE HOUSE OF THUNDER, and for the most part I enjoyed the story even though I found it dated. In fairness it was written in 1991. Koontz is a master at setting up a nice box of normal and having something unsettling slip into it and it’s done convincingly. I also listed to SMALL FAVOR by Jim Butcher. That is the first of his books I’ve had the pleasure of reading (listening to) and I intend to go back and read them all in order. I often wonder how many great authors are out there that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading.

My pet peeve with audio books is how many of them don’t bother to add what I believe is a detail of great importance, and courtesy to the listener. How much trouble could it possibly be to add the words, “This is the end of disk one. To continue put in disk number two.” On each disk. I hate to be listening to a chapter and when it ends the narrator goes right back to the start of the disk I just listened to. My own unabridged CD set for SMOKE & MIRRORS doesn’t have those crucial words at the end of those disks either. “They” usually don’t ask my opinion on such matters. I like to think there wasn’t room at the end of the disk for all those words. But maybe those words are copywrite protected like LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE! in the first published audiotape and anyone using the words since has to pay.

I once wanted to use the e.e. cummings poem, BUFFALO BILL’s DEFUNCT, in my first book coming in dialog from my antagonist, and it turned out that e.e.’s estate wanted five thousand dollars to let me use it. The publisher and I agreed I could change the scene by omitting the poem, and the book suffered in my view. In fact, before I had to take that poem out I was a shoe-in for an Edgar, A Booker, A Penn Faulkner and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Christmas is coming and I'm ready to be with my family over the holidays. By the way, I have a new book out December the 30th. THE LAST DAY.

Here's the cover:


  1. Robert Gregory Browne will interview John and discuss his new thriller THE LAST DAY in the upcoming January issue of The Big Thrill at

  2. Looking forward to hearing more about your new book John!